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Do you trust your reloads more than factory ammo?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by RMTactical, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. RMTactical

    RMTactical www.AR15pro.net CLM

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    I have not been reloading for long and so I am a novice at best right now. I assume that most of you get better reliability with your handloads.

    My handloads have been more accurate for me than factory ammo...

    However, the .223 I have reloaded, although it goes bang and hasnt blown anything up, has given me more FTE's and FTF's in my AR15's than I am used to. Not a ton mind you, but enough for me to question using it for self defense. I think it could be related to not loading it very hot, but I am not sure. I do load it on the weaker side.

    Any tips for reliable reloads? Is it likely I am not loading it hot enough to cycle the weapon reliably?
     
  2. PzGren

    PzGren

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    To answer your question is not so simple for me. I generally come up with range loads in different classes; plinker for fast shooting and ammo for accuracy. My plinkers are just mass produced rounds with less care invested into them, cheaper bullets, or softer alloys.

    I trust my rounds for defensive purposes more than factory defensive ammo since I control the components myself. Over the years I had found expensive defeensive ammo that lacked the anvil in the primer and Geco berdan brass that missed the flash holes.

    Now to the .223 that gives you problems. Is your brass uniform? Have you checked case length? How do you measure your powder and do you use high quality components?

    A failure to feed in a bottlenecked cartridge is always suspicious and should be related to either overall lenght or the magazine.
     

  3. DoctaGlockta

    DoctaGlockta

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    That is the round that gives me the most grief as well.

    Load up a magazine of different charges and see what work best in your rifle.

    And remember the positive - your are probably getting really skilled in clearing rounds from your weapon.

    Good luck.
     
  4. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Without knowing your load, I can't comment on the performance.

    A load I like to use for target/training is 55gr FMJ with 24.5gr TAC. Generally use CCI primers. Works in many different rifles.
     
  5. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

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    I actually have four, different die sets for one of the calibers I reload. It took that many sets to get the right combination to make ammo run consistently in *my* rifle.

    Obviously, for an auto-loading firearm (or levers, or pumps), sizing the brass to original specifications is essential for consistent operation.

    CALIPERS ARE A HAND LOADER'S FRIEND !!!
     
  6. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    I always trusted factory ammo for defensive purposes. I've never had a factory round fail, even with cheap range ammo. I have had oops moments with reloads, usually primers not seated fully.

    But, lately, I have been reading far too many QC issues with factory ammo, even the "good stuff". I had previously attributed factory ammo failures to faulty guns, faulty people, or flat out internet trolling. But there are too many of them these days, and from posters that I know aren't trolls, for them all to be bogus.

    Most of my carry ammo is old enough to be from before the ammo crazes, plant movings, corporate take overs, that seem to be responsible for the decline in quality so I still trust it. My 9mm though is new production Rangers and I am giving serious consideration to carrying my own XTP loads. I have never had a problem with my Rangers, but how would I know if the one round I need has flash holes in the case or not until it's too late? I've seen primers frag when there was no flash hole (on the internet) and that can put the gun out of commission.

    I can visually verify flash holes and powder charge and hand seat the primers on 100 rounds to make sure everything is as close to guaranteed as possible.
     
  7. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

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    By coincidence, I came up with 24.6 gr of TAC with the 55 gr FMJ from Montana Gold. I am using TULA primers and I'm not impressed. CCI will be up next.

    Nevertheless, I have NO experience at clearing rounds. I have never had a FTanything with my reloads and my box-stock AR-15 SP1. Not ever!

    All of my brass is small base resized and trimmed. Now that I do this little operation on my XL650, I can prep about 1200 cases per hour. Pretty fast... For the most part, the cases don't need to be trimmed. Wally World Federal bulk .223 cases start out pretty short.

    One nice thing about reloads, you can be pretty sure there is a flash hole.

    It would have to be a pretty ugly situation to consider using a long gun for SD so I have never considered whether or not I trust them. I don't know why not, they have been working pretty well.

    OP, are you checking your cases with a case gauge?

    Richard
     
  8. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

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    First, without knowing your load, it is impossible to make an informative suggestion that may help. Many starting loads may not adequately operate an AR, especially one that is being run dry rather than wet.

    Whether you should rely upon your reloads versus factory amo is a whole-nuther topic, one that has been debated on here and elsewhere more times than Carter's has pills. That is a personal decision that each reloader needs to carefully consider.
     
  9. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

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    I don't make SD ammo for my handguns. If I did, I think I would use new Starline brass, Federal primers, 700-X powder and some fancy bullet. But I wouldn't load them on my 1050!

    I think I would use my very old Ponsness-Warren Metal-Matic P200 turret press and load them one at a time with great attention to detail. A hundred rounds would be a lot of SD ammo so it wouldn't matter how long it took to make them.

    http://www.reloaders.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=57

    I'm one of the dinosaurs who still believes in the 230 gr FMJ. So, while I don't load SD ammo, those ammo cans full of ball could still work in a pinch. They never fail to go bang and there are multiple thousands just sitting there.

    Richard
     
  10. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    I agree with Freak, not knowing your load the gun used and the equipment your loading with makes commenting difficult.

    I also use the 24.5 TAC load with 55 FMJs as my staple AR platform plinking / training load and though a infant in years to some of the guys in the forum. I load lots of .223 rounds to make up for it, about 1200 a month average on a XL650. In close to 20K rounds I can only remember a single issue with my own .223 handloads as far as failing to fire. I have had some Failure to feed issues but worked that out by adjusting my set-up.
    All in all I would say that I feel my .223 loads just as reliable as any factory, probably more reliable... that said I wouldn't use any of my handloads in any caliber for SD.
    I carry any of the 3 9mm SD loads the local LEO's use and my primary home defense long gun is my Remy 870 Tactical with a surefire foreend loaded with #4 lead buckshot.
    I have a mag loaded with 64g Winchester Ranger soft points, given to me by some LEO's at a match, should a need arise that I have to grab a AR out of the safe for HD, though doubtful I would go that route.
     
  11. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

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    I'm with you on the shotguns. We have a pair of 870s and a Benelli M4 ready to go.

    There has been considerable debate on #4 vs 00 and I guess I don't have anything to add to it.

    Richard
     
  12. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    Something's goofy. You should be running 100%, save you get a dud primer or something...

    Does FTF mean fail to feed or fail to fire?

    Pushing the shoulder back far enough? - Common issue.

    Due diligence in brass prep? - Tedious, but necessary.

    Case gauge? - Worth getting if you're having issues.

    I'm also interested in hearing about the load. Might just be what you suspect - too wimpy.


    :dunno:
     
  13. RMTactical

    RMTactical www.AR15pro.net CLM

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    I had wondered as well if the case was sized correctly but since so many of you seem to think that may be an issue, I am thinking maybe that is the real cause of the issue. Thanks for giving me some good clues and things to consider for future loads.
     
  14. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    I actually tested sheet rock on the range at known distances I would encounter within my house. #4 is definitely the better choice for MY needs. That given I always practice with 00.
     
  15. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    Get yourself a Dillon case gauge, set you gear up to shoulder back to minimum specs and trim to minimum (on just under).
     
  16. fredj338

    fredj338

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    For serious work, my handloaded ammo is as reliable as any factory. I have hunted dangerous game in Afirca using handloaded ammuntion exclusively. I would also have no issues using carefully prepared handloads in a SD situation w/ a handgun.
    Range or practice ammo, is just that. The diff between carefully prepared handloads & reloaded ammo is the case. For range ammo I will use mixed brass, fired who knows how many times. For serious ammo, I use once fired brass only. A once fired case has less chance of a burr or structural weakness that can stick a case in the chamber at a crucial moment. IMO, once fired is better than new because I know the case can withstand the pressures of the load & I did not get a bad case in the mix.
    Rounds for semiautos are always more touchy than bolt guns. You have to have enough gas/momentum to fucntion the gun. If you are getting failure to chamber, then it's either improper sizing or underpowered rounds or cases too long. Failure to chamber is likely improperly sized cases or a bullet that is too long, although not likely in a mag fed gun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  17. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

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    Yes, it gets down to penetration.- I had "heard" that the FBI tests with #4 suggested that it wouldn't necessarily penetrate a heavy leather jacket. No such problem with 00.

    OTOH, it's pretty clear that if you want to retain the pellets within the confines of a building, #4 is the way to go. There are good reasons for this.

    To further confound matters, I carry equal amounts of slug and 00 in the saddle carrier. I like slugs! They are absolutely devastating. If wound diameter is the concern, slugs are the way to get there, particularly at longer ranges where the 00 pattern has degenerated.

    Years ago, I watched a simple ballistic demonstration of the difference between a .45 ACP ball round and a load of 00 buck on a metal plate that could rock back and forth. The .45 nudged the plate a little but the 00 buck rocked its world! There's a HUGE difference. Nine .30 cal pellets traveling over 1000 fps causes a lot of damage.

    Richard
     
  18. F106 Fan

    F106 Fan

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    Every quality small base sizing die I have ever used has sized the cases correctly when adjusted to cause the press to slightly "cam over" during sizing. Not just a paper width clearance, not just barely touching, but touching enough to get all the slack out of the press.

    And then I check a few with a case gauge just to be certain that I have the die adjusted properly.

    I also check a few loaded rounds just to be certain that something didn't happen to the case after sizing.

    I might check as many as 10 out of 300, not much more than that. If the reloading equipment works at all, the results should be pretty uniform.

    One thing you might check: make sure you are using a small base sizing die. A regular full length sizing die (sometimes marked as FL) would probably size the case such that it would fit a bolt action gun but it might not feed reliably in a semiauto. Every manufacturer makes a small base die.

    Richard
     
  19. Boxerglocker

    Boxerglocker Jacks #1 Fan

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    My testing at 7-10 yards the #4 penetrated the first layer of sheet rock easily and was somewhat contained through the second sheet spaced 3.5 inches behind it.
    As far are the FBI test, I have heard the same. However would imagine getting nailed square in the chest with #4 at that distance of 7-10 would knock the wind out of anyone even If they were wearing a heavy leather jacket.
     
  20. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Are we talking buckshot or birdshot. #4 buck has no issues penetrating animate targets. It doesn't carry the mass of #00 but enough for room distance penetration of soft targets. This test was done @ 25ft, #4 buck vs #6 birdshot from a riot choked 870. Notice no #6 pellets penetrated the beef ribs & the #4 buck broke every rib & still had enogh penetration to decimate the gal water jug that was the backing. #4 buck has nore than enough penetration for close range indoor use.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012